1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
University is recognized as the citadel of knowledge, the intellectual fountain, and the most suited environment for the incubation of tomorrow's leaders all over the world (Ike, 2001). One major knowledge is fulfilled by a university. It is a supplier of information and value (Ike, 2001). Its capacity or inability to meet this criterion determines whether it succeeds or fails. Universitum Magna Carta, "The university is an autonomous institution at the core of communities that are geographically and historically diverse; it generates, investigates, appraises, and transmits culture via research, and it is a multidisciplinary business." According to (Nwankwo, 2004), this explains why merit has been a watchword in the university system - a system in which a student must first be declared worthy in character and learning before being allowed into the Honours Degree Hall. Universities have a larger role in national development in Africa than in other parts of the world (Ralph, 2003). Their research functions explain why the Federal Government of Nigeria, which recognizes the university as a fulcrum for national development, established a commission headed by Gray (1992) to examine higher education in Nigeria, with a focus on Nigerian institutions. The panel was given a set of mandates, one of which was
i. To re-examine universities' developmental responsibilities in underdeveloped nations like Nigeria.
ii. Determine the country's intermediate and upper level personnel supply and demand, as well as provide advise on under/overpopulation and under/overutilization (Jay, 1995).
iii. Examine the academic staffing availability and quality in institutions.
iv. Researches the nature, sources, and criteria of funding in higher education institutions (particularly universities) in order to improve the situation and provide a constant stream of finances for the institutions' optimal functioning.
v. Examine the overall working conditions of higher education employees, including salary, pensions, and retirement benefits, public and private sector housing, and, in particular, the brain phenomenon.
vi. Examine the criteria for appointing administrators, such as Vice-Chancellors, Provosts, Rectors, Registrars, and other Principal Officers, as well as the terms of their appointments and the process for renewing them (Ana, 2001).
The commission held special sessions with a number of renowned individuals and educators, benefiting much from their expertise and experience of Nigeria's educational system.Finally, the committee defined higher education as the sort of education provided by higher educational institutions, particularly universities, in order to generate high-level and middle-level workers who are not specialized by professional organizations.Teaching, research, and public service are among the goals and objectives, according to the commission. According to the commission, Nigerian institutions have set a benchmark that is equivalent to the best in the world. The commission, on the other hand, expressed displeasure with the fact that the following physical conditions continue to be associated with Nigerian universities:
i. Dilapidated workshop equipment at most higher education institutions.
ii. .Facilities such as libraries, lecture halls, labs, and work farms are insufficient.
The commission was also shocked to learn that universities have not achieved much in terms of the goals and objectives for which they were established, owing to constant disruptions in the academic flow chart caused by strikes, industrial unrest, student hooliganism, political instability, and other factors.
The commission concluded, among other things, that:
i. University education, as the apex of the higher education system, should play a leadership role in the nation by giving individuals with particular qualifications and motivation;
ii. University education is not a way of earning a livelihood. It should also provide the person with the intellectual and physical abilities he needs to be an imaginative, creative, and self-reliant member of society to the best of his ability.
iii. Because of its central position in the economy, the university should constantly support and facilitate industrial harmony, as well as providing a suitable environment for learning and achieving other aims and objectives.
The government, for its part, approved these suggestions and stated:
i.That the university conduct periodic assessments of its programs and activities to ensure that they are meeting national priority goals as set from time to time.
ii.There should be regular interaction between tertiary institutions, employers of their products, and the National Manpower Board in order to develop closer academic/industrial relationships and ensure that the programs of tertiary institutions are relevant to the needs of industry and the national economy.
iii. To promote industrial harmony in higher education by enacting legislation that protects the rights of diverse interest groups within the university system, particularly organized labor unions and their employers.
However, this is a broad overview of the events surrounding Nigeria's university system (Nwankwo, 2004).